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All you need to know ahead of Napoli vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool face Napoli at Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday night looking to build on their thrilling opening Champions League victory over PSG a fortnight ago.

Napoli vs. Liverpool

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 — 8pm (BST)
Stadio San Paolo
Champions League Group Stage (Matchday 2)
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)

The Reds are in one of their most defining runs of fixtures this season and so far have stood up to the challenge.

After Saturday’s late 1-1 draw at Chelsea, a result that genuinely felt more like a victory, it’s back to European action in midweek.

Trips across the continent don’t come much more daunting than Napoli, with Stadio San Paolo renowned as one of club football’s greatest arenas.

Roberto Firmino‘s last-minute winner against PSG has given Liverpool an early cushion in Group C, helped further by Napoli managing just a draw away to Red Star Belgrade.

With a huge Premier League clash with Man City to come on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp will be tempted to rotate his side but still fielding a team that can pick up a result.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Napoli have made a good start to life under Carlo Ancelotti, sitting second in Serie A, and they have players who can hurt the visitors, most notably Piotr Zielinski, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens.

Klopp is never one to approach a game in anything other than a positive manner, and the hope is Liverpool can take another three points.


Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 17, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (left) and Mohamed Salah during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has no new injuries to worry about, with Virgil van Dijk coming through the Chelsea game unscathed having been a doubt with a rib problem picked up against Southampton.

The Reds still have Adam Lallana (groin), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Rhian Brewster (knee) unavailable, but Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi are included in the 23-man squad to travel to Naples.

It will be interesting to see how many changes Klopp makes after his players exerted so much energy in a pulsating game at Chelsea.

At the back, Lovren and Joel Matip could feature, should Klopp feel the need to give Van Dijk or Joe Gomez the night off.

NAPLES, ITALY - Tuesday, October 2, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner is given the bumps by team-mates during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho could earn his second start for the Reds, in what could be a slow-paced match in comparison to the Premier League, while Naby Keita is pushing to begin proceedings.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge both made positive impacts from the substitutes’ bench at Stamford Bridge, meaning the duo could start.

Mohamed Salah could be rested, while Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino need to be carefully rotated throughout the season.

Ancelotti will have to make do without young goalkeeper Alex Meret, centre-back Vlad Chriches, left-back Faouzi Ghoulam and wide man Amin Younes.


History of the Fixture

NAPELS, ITALY - Thursday, October 21, 2010: Liverpool players line-up before the UEFA Europa League Group K match against SSC Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. Back row L-R: Jonjo Shelvey, goalkeeper Pepe Reina, David Ngog, Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, Christian Poulsen. Front row L-R: Jay Spearing, Paul Konchesky, Milan Jovanovic, captain Jamie Carragher, Ryan Babel. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Surprisingly, Liverpool and Napoli have only met twice competitively. Both meetings came in the Europa League group stage during the 2010/11 season—one dogged by Roy Hodgson’s woeful reign as Reds manager.

The two teams played out a forgettable 0-0 draw in Naples, before one man single-handedly turned the tie at Anfield on its head.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 4, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE celebrates scoring his, and his side's third goal against SSC Napoli during the UEFA Europa League Group K Matchday 4 match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trailing 1-0 at half-time after Ezequiel Lavezzi’s strike, Steven Gerrard entered the fray and registered a second-half hat-trick.

There was also a clash between the Reds and the Partenopei during pre-season this summer, with Klopp’s men cruising to a 5-0 win in Dublin.

James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum got the ball rolling, Salah and Sturridge added further goals and Alberto Moreno‘s beauty put the icing on the cake.


Stadio San Paolo

NAPELS, ITALY - Thursday, October 21, 2010: SSC Napoli supporters queue to enter the Stadio San Paolo before the UEFA Europa League Group K match against Liverpool. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Address: Piazzale Vincenzo Tecchio, 80125 Napoli NA, Italy

Capacity: 60,240


Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the first goal during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge has a decent chance of featuring prominently on Wednesday and his goalscoring form this season is proving eye-catching.

The 29-year-old has four goals to his name in seven appearances—only two starts—with each strike coming every 46.5 minutes on average.



LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 29, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the equalising goal with team-mates and the supporter during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Napoli – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-1 vs. Juventus
Won 3-0 vs. Parma
Won 3-1 vs. Torino
Drew 0-0 vs. Red Star Belgrade
Won 1-0 vs. Fiorentina

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Chelsea
Lost 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Won 3-0 vs. Southampton
Won 3-2 vs. PSG
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham


Klopp’s View

Speaking in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, Klopp urged his side to be “ready for a real battle”:

“I’m here to be ready for a real battle, I don’t care too much about what people say about us.

“Yes, we were stable in the last few weeks, we performed on a consistently OK level, but again tomorrow we need to step up.

“This is a fantastic manager, fantastic football team and a very, very emotional crowd.

“So that will be a real challenge.”


TV & Live Blog Info

Adidas, Champions League ball, general, matchday (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The game is live on BT Sport 3 from 7.15pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.

Ben Twelves will be manning our matchday live blog from 7.15pm, providing you with pre-match content and minute-by-minute updates during the action.

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